7 Shades of Sexy [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Mark Frost, the writer and director best known for his work with David Lynch on the TV series Twin Peaks, made his feature film directorial debut with this convoluted thriller. Cray Fowler (James Spader) is running for congress, partly to satisfy his own political aspirations and partly to resolve certain controversies in his life; he divorced his wife after discovering that she was unfaithful, and his father committed suicide after he became involved in a scandal regarding valuable oil rights. While on the campaign trail, Fowler is persuaded to visit Lee Tran (Charlotte Lewis), a waitress he meets at a fund raiser. Fowler and Lee Tran have sex, which is caught on videotape; as if this isn't strong enough blackmail material, Lee Tran's father turns up dead in the room where Fowler wakes up. But Lee, not Fowler, is charged with the murder, and Fowler, a lawyer, agrees to defend her in court. Fowler wins the case against beautiful District Attorney Natalie Tate (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), Fowler's former girlfriend, but now he needs to find out who is trying to set him up and for what reason; he hopes he can get some help from his uncle, Clifford Fowler (Jason Robards), a political kingmaker of the old school who knows all the family's secrets. The supporting cast includes Piper Laurie, Michael Parks, Chuck McCann, and Woody Strode. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Youth Without Youth
Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola returns to the director's chair after a ten-year hiatus with this adaptation of Romanian author Mircea Eliade's tome detailing the arduous journey of a professor whose life is thrown into chaos as World War II looms ominously on the horizon. When the 70-year-old scholar is struck by lightning, his age begins to reverse as his mind grows infinitely more brilliant. Now determined to understand the origins of language and consciousness, the fugitive professor leads authorities on a wild chase through Romania, Switzerland, Malta, and India. Tim Roth, Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, and Marcel Iures star in an ambitious low-budget drama trumpeted by Zoetrope as a "return to personal filmmaking" for the revered Godfather director. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Bare Witness
Bare Witness is an erotic thriller directed by Kelley Cauthen. When a prostitute with a large personal collection of tapes that display her servicing some high-powered customers turns up dead, the prostitute's roommate, Carly (Angie Everhart), becomes the probable next victim. Detective Killian (Daniel Baldwin) is put on the case with the job of protecting her at all costs. Things become problematic when the two of them begin a steamy sexual relationship. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Where the Truth Lies
A reporter unexpectedly gets a personal perspective on a legendary show-business story in this adaptation of Rupert Holmes' novel, scripted and directed by noted Canadian independent filmmaker Atom Egoyan. In the mid-'50s, Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth) were a wildly popular comedy team who suddenly and unexpectedly broke up at the peak of their popularity. Fifteen years after Morris and Collins called it quits, journalist Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman), who has earned a reputation for her celebrity exposés, wants to write about the true story of what happened with Morris and Collins -- and to her surprise, her publisher tells her Collins has agreed to co-author the book for a cool million dollars. The only catch is that Collins has to tell the full truth about a very large skeleton in the team's closet -- a beautiful naked woman was found drowned in the bathtub of Morris and Collins' hotel suite shortly before they broke up the act, and while the comics were cleared of any wrongdoing, rumors about the incident followed them for years. As O'Connor and Collins complete their book, they learn to their surprise that Morris has opted to write a book of his own about the team's career; eager to learn what Morris has to say, O'Connor meets him posing as a schoolteacher, and soon falls into an unexpected romantic relationship with him. O'Connor soon finds herself playing two sides against one another as she tried to learn the truth about two men with dark and scandalous pasts. Where The Truth Lies became the subject of unexpected controversy when the MPAA gave the film an NC-17 rating due to a brief scene involving a ménage à trois; the film earned significantly more lenient rating in other countries. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

A woman seeking to revive the spark in her marriage inadvertently attracts the attentions of a stranger with a twisted concept of romance. Claire Dennison (Willa Ford) is a passionate beauty who has grown increasingly distant from her once-loving husband. But Claire is intent on arousing her husband's dormant desires, and plans an elaborate role-playing game in order to make that happen. At first it appears as if her husband is playing along as planned, but it doesn't take long for Claire to discover that she's playing with fire. The man she has attracted is in fact a total stranger, and by the time she tries to break things off it may already be too late. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

A provocative drama about sex, love, and trust, Bliss concerns Joseph (Craig Sheffer) and Maria (Sheryl Lee), a young married couple whose relationship is in serious trouble. While they love each other, Maria has difficulty opening up to Joseph, and, after six months of marriage, he makes the unhappy discovery that she's been unable to have an orgasm with him (though she's been willing to let him think otherwise). At work, Joseph and his co-workers notice a steady stream of beautiful women visiting an apartment across the street; the scuttlebutt around the office is that some sort of shady sex therapist works out of the building. One day, Joseph is shocked to see Maria visiting the apartment, and he bursts in and demands to know what's happening. The apartment does indeed house an unlicensed sex therapist, who goes by the name of Balthazar (Terence Stamp), and, before long, Joseph realizes that Balthazar's teaching are about the mind as much as the body, and that he's less concerned with orgasm than with "bliss," which he considers an emotional and spiritual as well as physical state. Before long, Joseph has convinced Balthazar to teach him what he knows about tantric healing and sex, in the hope that he can help heal Maria's emotional scars, as well as help himself become a better man. Bliss was the debut feature for writer/director Lance Young. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Spider's Web
Paul Levine directs the straight-to-video crime thriller Spider's Web. Clay Harding (Stephen Baldwin) engages in a steamy affair with Lauren Bishop (Kari Wuhrer), an executive who works at his father's company. They come up with a scheme to steal his father's money, leading to many softcore sex scenes and betrayal for all parties involved. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

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